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PPL Electric Utilities presentation AMR Lessons Learned Anthony M. Osmanski . March 30, 2004. AMR at PPL Electric Utilities. Anthony Osmanski,Technical Support Manager- AMR, PPL Electric Utilities Reports to the Director of AMR - PPL EU

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ppl electric utilities presentation amr lessons learned anthony m osmanski

PPL Electric UtilitiespresentationAMR Lessons LearnedAnthony M. Osmanski

March 30, 2004

amr at ppl electric utilities
AMR at PPL Electric Utilities
  • Anthony Osmanski,Technical Support Manager- AMR, PPL Electric Utilities
    • Reports to the Director of AMR - PPL EU
    • 30 years electric utility experience in metering operations
    • led technical implementation
    • led the AMR Technology investigation stages
    • led the DCSI proof of concept tests

How significant is an AMR project to a utility?

AMR is the 3rd largest contract a utility will ever undertake, only buying a utility or building a production facility have a larger scope and impact on customers, employees and others!

ppl electric utilities service area

Meters per Square Mile

> 225

> 75 and < 225


PPL Electric Utilities Service Area

PPL Corp. Facts

1. $5.2 billion revenue

2. $11.8 billion assets

3. 10,000 sq. mi.

4. 1.3 M electric meters

5. 6 major cities

- 50% of customers

6. Diverse environment

how was the metering automation proposal justified
How was the metering automation proposal justified?

1. What’s the corporate strategy

- how can automating meter reading best meet the corporate strategy

2. Four phases: plan, business case, buy, implement

3 Focus on primary benefits

4. ‘Strategic Value’ perception

5. Adjusting attitude on ‘Risk Management’

- does 1,000,000 x 1 = 1 x 1,000,000?

A successful business case:

1. 45% business case

2. 45% ‘managing’

3. 10% technology

ppl project overview
PPL Project overview

PPL’s strategy is knowledge centric

100% of the customers - no 2nd class customers

  • Customers: 1.3 million meters
  • Financial - NPV, EPS, ~5 year payback
  • Meters: single phase and 3 phase with 66% meter reuse
    • DCSI: all 1 and 3 phase meters except VT/PT connected meters
    • Comverge for VT/PT connected meters
  • Uses: billing, call center, special reads, etc.
  • Schedule: 36 months
  • Data:
    • hourly interval data delivered every 8 hours
    • 15-minute interval delivered every 2 hours
    • daily consumption and demand
  • Roles:
    • PPL: customer, field installation, IT integration, 3 phase meter retrofit
    • DCSI: All residential and commercial customers, deployment,retrofits
    • Comverge: major revenue customers

The TWACS system will provide hourly data for 1 and 3 phase meters every day and support other services.

Communications Server





Telecommunications Link




Client Workstations (PC)

Substation Control Equipment



Meter Retrofitted

with Module



To PPL Data Center


CDMA -Verizon Wireless

MainGateTM C&I


PPL Electric Utilities

PPL Gas Utilities

The Comverge system will provide 15 minute Load Profile data for 3 phase VT meters every day and support other services.
ppl business case model
PPL Business Case Model
  • 3 Major Business Case Parts
  • Finance: NPV, EPS, ROI …
  • AMR deployment plan geo-map
  • Risk Management Plan
  • Financial Model Analyzed:
  • 48 customer groups by OpCenter
  • 15 primary benefit groups
  • 40+ cost groups
  • concurrent AMR strategy review
  • up to 3 technologies/strategy
  • sensitivity to assumption changes
  • Benefits
  • reduced risk, cost and time
  • proven model accepted by finance
  • supports benefit tracking





Utility AMR

Performance Needs

Benefit Model:

Cost and Benefit




Vendor Prices

Financial Model

Non-Vendor Prices

Business Case Report

Finance, Deployment,

Risk Management





Program Managers

Project Managers

Deployment,Change Mgmt,

Operations, Technology











PPL selected a joint program committee strategy to ensure that its vendor-partners were aware of and committed to creating the benefits in a timely manner.

  • Total program responsibility
  • Goal setting
  • Motivation
  • Track program status
  • Reporting
  • Communication
  • Settle major conflicts
  • Manage budget
PPL’s team manages 100s of program activities to ensure effective, timely deployment consistent with maximizing benefits.
  • Process planning
  • Change management plan
  • Responsibility matrix
  • Schedule
  • IBEW work plan
  • FAT, SAT and CAT processes e.g. Comverge CDMA units
  • Technology processes
  • Deployment processes
  • Hard to access
  • Regulatory
  • Training
  • Legacy interface
  • etc

Do not underestimate the uncertainty of change or its differing impacts on people!

ppl s overall deployment is going successfully
PPL’s overall deployment is going successfully.
  • ~1.25 Million operational AMR meters as of March 1st
    • >99% of all operational meters read every day
    • deploying 4,000 meters per day
    • averaging over 60 meters per exchanger
    • deployment will be completed by Sept. 2004
  • Eliminated major meter reading issues
    • hard to access meters of every type
    • no problem reading meters in underground distribution areas
    • works well in Network Meter settings
ppl s lessons learned
PPL’s Lessons Learned
  • Technology Selection
    • Match utility needs with technology infrastructure and operation
    • Define parameters necessary for cost effective selection
    • Don’t forget obsolescence i.e. retrofitting D2/3 or I-50 meters for example.
      • Vectron vs. S4 decision at PPL
  • Understand the Technology
    • Beware of market pressures to sell.
    • Don’t be oversold by marketing hype, understand the limits of the technology
    • Make sure the vendor understands what you are asking for before its too late.
    • Expect surprises. “Oh you wanted it to work THAT WAY?”
ppl s lessons learned13
PPL’s Lessons Learned
  • Information Technology (IT)
    • Create a dedicated team early
    • Make them a part of the decision and selection
    • Get a jump on processes. Don’t wait until after contract signing to begin IT process review
  • Change Management
    • Manage Change
    • Identify all the processes that will be touched.
    • Understand and define today’s processes and how will it change with AMR
    • Expect “Push Back” from most on Change management. “no time for this stuff, I have an AMR System to install”
ppl s lessons learned14
PPL’s Lessons Learned
  • Sound Processes
    • Understand your processes and eliminate confusion
    • Confusion stops or delays efficient work
    • Confusion creates excuses for delays
    • Never stop work, start-up inertia is deadly in AMR Projects
  • Human Nature Factor
    • Human Nature will breed negative criticism
    • Employees promote negative rumors
    • Kill negative comments with positive news alerts or information updates.
    • Rumor Control is important to keeping a positive spin on AMR deployment
    • Problems occurs with every new system, keep them under control
ppl s lessons learned15
PPL’s Lessons Learned
  • Apathy
    • The initial work and process may go well because it has attention
    • Be careful as you progress into the project to maintain focus
    • Excitement wears off and apathy sets it down the road
    • Have controls and monitor, monitor, monitor. (statistics, performance)
  • Do-Over factor
    • Problems tend to be overshadowed by schedule
    • Don’t rush to conclusions on problems or concerns
    • Fixing the symptom rather than the cause will require do overs.
    • And over and over and over
ppl s lessons learned16
PPL’s Lessons Learned
  • 80/20 rule reaches AMR easily
    • Problems at particular sites can overshadow the overall process
    • Keep focused on the big picture
    • One meter not communicating is a limited concern
    • 10,000 meters not communicating may have a similar failure mode that needs to be addressed.
    • Don’t spend 80% of your time on a few concerns. Monitor the total environment
  • 1 million process done once is not equal to 1 process done 1 million times over.
    • Installing 1 million AMR meters should be the same process done right over and over. Have a simple error free process that covers all contingencies.
ppl s lessons learned17
PPL’s Lessons Learned
  • Deployment Process
    • Automate the meter exchanges, handheld processors etc downloaded daily
    • Update the population file nightly
  • Maintain adequate inventory
    • Have enough meters to maintain the deployment schedule
    • Make sure you have every type required
    • Filling in the missed holes is costly
    • Seasons of the year is a major factor,
    • Bad weather slows you down but don’t forget good weather speeds things up. Don’t run out of meters in good weather times.
ppl s lessons learned18
PPL’s Lessons Learned
  • Small Scale Start-up
    • Do a slow start
    • Exercise your processes
    • Do test billing
    • Check technology
    • Make adjustments before proceeding PAUSE
  • Large Scale Shut -down
    • Have a plan for the end of deployment
    • Turn-over to the business- are they ready
    • All new processes signed off and accepted
    • Operational plans in order
ppl s lessons learned19
PPL’s Lessons Learned
  • Devil is in the DetailRalph Amato- among others
how does ppl s experience match up to expectations
How does PPL’s experience match up to expectations?

Item Match UP

  • Business case
  • Implementation Plan
  • IT plan
  • Communication plan
  • New internal benefits - had no goal
  • New revenue opportunities - had no goal
For more information: